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Apex should provide specifics about ‘misinformation’ as Yates, Somerset try to stop project

Posted 12 August 2018 at 2:15 pm

Editor:

In a recent letter to the Hub, Apex development manager Paul Williamson clearly showed that  Apex has no respect for Somerset or Yates or their elected officials. Once again, Apex and their minions cry about misinformation being spread regarding their project, yet never identify which information.

Mr. Riggi, the Town of Yates Councilman who won his seat in a landslide vote, clearly outlined the specific fallacies associated with the Lighthouse Wind project. One must remember that this project was unanimously rejected by the Town of Yates and the Town of Somerset, and by the Orleans, Niagara and Erie County Legislatures.

Is it possible that Mr. Williamson fears discussing specific pieces of so called “misinformation,” because he cannot support his claim? Please, Mr. Williamson, name one! Is it misinformation to state that wind turbines create noise and that noise, especially noise which includes an element of amplitude modulation, can keep people awake at night, and that sleep deprivation can lead to illness?

Do you deny that “peer reviewed studies” conclude that wind turbines generate infrasound which can travel for miles and can cause symptoms of anxiety, migraine, and sleep issues in some portion of the population, and do you just chalk these claims up as “nocebos”?

Is it misinformation to state that the US Fish and Wildlife Service has recommended that no wind turbines be installed within three miles of the Great Lakes shoreline? Mr. Williamson has that letter. Who then is providing misinformation?

Mr. Williamson claims that studies show no negative impact on property values, when numerous studies (you have them in your possession) indicate otherwise. Deny this fact, or provide guarantees on property values if this project is built. You have a draft of a property value guarantee. Endorse it and abide by it.

It is ludicrous that Mr. Williamson thinks he has the right to come into our towns and bully our elected officials, by openly stating he will request variances to the town laws that have been thoughtfully adopted and put into place to protect the health and welfare of its residents? He comes to our towns from Maine, a state that has a moratorium on construction of new industrial wind projects.

He  claims he is well suited for this particular job because he is familiar with our area, having brothers who attended Clarkson University and Cornell University. Mr. Williamson, do you realize that neither of these two institutions are anywhere near the southern shore of Lake Ontario?

You’ve missed the point, Mr. Williamson! This is the wrong location for an industrial wind project. One set of facts is undeniably true. Apex, its employees, its offices, its PR campaign, and its attorneys are not welcome here. Nor will they ever be.

Apex is sucking money from these two towns like a parasite and causing our elected officials to spend their time fighting for our beautiful community and rural way of life, time which could be better directed to other issues.

Mr. Williamson claims that now is the time for “open collaboration” between Apex and the Towns. What has Apex been doing for the last four years? It’s time for Apex to leave.

Steve and Maryellen Royce

Richard and Cynthia Hellert

Robert and Agnes LaPorte

Paula Simon

David and Anne Smith

Susan Dudley

Ruth Doughty

Robert Verheyn

Christine Bronson

Kathy Evans

Donn Riggi

Apex development manager says Lighthouse project offers numerous benefits to community

Posted 10 August 2018 at 5:23 pm

Editor:

I would like the opportunity to respond to a letter addressed to me that was recently submitted to the Orleans Hub by Councilman Riggi of Yates.

Mr. Riggi’s letter makes a very good argument for the development of the Lighthouse Wind Power project. The letter portrays Somerset and Yates communities as economically challenged areas, where people have to work hard for a living pay high taxes with limited opportunities for relief. Despite the challenges, I also recognize these communities are home to proud people with an honorable heritage of self-reliance with the ability to generate a local economy based on natural resources.

The challenges outlined in the councilman’s letter demonstrate this is the perfect opportunity to harvest another natural resource and create a responsible renewable energy project. Annually, the Lighthouse project will also provide much-needed investments to both Yates and Somerset. It will serve to complement the current agrarian land uses, and align with the natural resource economy, while providing environmentally-beneficial clean energy. Both communities can benefit from the Lighthouse investment to reduce taxes for property owners, improve the community, and create new economic development.

Paradoxically, the councilman’s letter goes on to inaccurately list perceived horrors about the project. The message imparted demonstrates a false understanding of how wind energy works and the impacts. The comments are so exaggerated that an objective reader may believe the letter was intended to parody objections to the project.

Following the tenant that a well-informed people are essential to a healthy democracy, public officials typically serve their constituents best when they take time to accurately portray the issues before making public statements.

As we move through the project planning process, I remain committed to factually informing the citizens of Yates and Somerset and am confident a true understanding of the project’s benefits will yield great interest and support. Rather than being closed off to opportunity the people of Yates and Somerset deserve constructive discourse, open collaboration and vision.

Paul Williamson

Senior Development Manager

Apex Clean Energy, Inc.

Undocumented immigrants give much to US despite dysfunctional Visa program

Posted 8 August 2018 at 7:45 pm

Editor:

Mr. Lauricella, I have no intention at changing your mind about anything, so please disregard the following.

On the matter of immigration, you stated, “Come in the front door. Prove your worth. Come on a VISA, we know who you are, then go home.” Clearly you have no idea how dysfunctional the Visa program is.

The Department of Homeland Security shows 178,700,000 immigrants came to this country in 2016 alone. Tourists do not always take the return-flight home. Thousands of Visa’s expire daily and not every individual returns home.

If even 1 percent of those people remain in this country, it’s a significant number. If just 2 percent remain, we are talking about an illegal population greater than Los Angeles. And that’s just  2016. Fed-Ex may be able to track a million packages a day, but our government has neither the manpower nor the willpower to track even a few hundred of these “overstays” – even if they had any idea where they were.

Mr. Lauricella states authoritatively that “China doesn’t take in every kind of refugee. They are smart.”  Um – China has over 100,000 illegal African and Arab immigrants residing in the Guangzhou province alone. Thousands of Vietnamese, North Korean and Mongolian immigrants flood over the Chinese borders daily. If this is your concept of smart, I’ll take a pass.

He mentions a Forbes article with taxpayers spending $18.5 billion on illegal immigration hospital bills. The author of the article desires this cost to be transferred from federal spending to state and local levels since the costs still exists even if these immigrants were here legally. Read the rest of the article, Mr. Lauricella.

The chief actuary of the Social Security Administration, Stephen Goss, states, “We estimate that earnings by unauthorized immigrants result in a net positive effect on Social Security financial status generally.” Mr. Lauricella does not believe or accept Mr. Goss’ assessment because it contradicts his preconceived belief system.

The most recent IRS data (from 2015) shows that the agency received 4.4 million income tax returns from immigrants who don’t have Social Security numbers, which includes a large number of undocumented immigrants. That year, they paid  $23.6 billion in income taxes and another $11.1 billion in state and local taxes but are ineligible to collect on any services (Social Security, Medicare etc). Mr. Lauricella does not believe or accept the IRS’ conclusions because he doesn’t believe illegal immigrants pay taxes.

Mary Miller, performing as Asst. Secretary of Defense for research and engineering speaking in Massachusetts in May 2018 stated, “The U.S. has focused on insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan for nearly two decades and while we were busy taking care of business, our near-peer adversaries – Russia and China – have been investing in technology and advancing at an alarming rate.” Mr. Lauricella does not believe Ms. Miller.

In Michigan last November, Maj. General Robert Dyess stated, “We are vulnerable and will be attacked in the homeland in a future fight against a near-peer adversary.” Mr. Lauricella does not believe Maj. Gen. Dyess.

Mr. Lauricella believes neither Ms. Miller or Maj. Gen. Dyess – and by inference our nation’s entire defense and intelligence communities because in his words “… there is no country that is near or our peers.”

Mr. Lauricella doesn’t believe a lot of people. I proudly count myself as one of them.

Darren Wilson

Lyndonville

Former legislator has praise for retiring county attorney

Posted 7 August 2018 at 7:26 am

Editor:

Speaking as a past member of the legislative minority, I would like to thank outgoing County Attorney Dave Schubel for his years of even-handed service to Orleans County.

Perhaps I missed it, but Mr. Schubel appeared to perform his duties as an advisor to legislators in an objective, fairly non-partisan, fashion. In today’s environment, that is refreshing and may be missed, depending on how his successor views the role of County Attorney.

Enjoy whatever form your retirement takes, sir.

Sincerely yours,

Gary Kent

Albion

Candidate for Murray GOP Committee states her reasons for seeking position

Posted 6 August 2018 at 7:46 am

Editor:

My name is Kellie Gregoire and I am a candidate for the Town of Murray Republican Committee for election District 6.

I am a God-fearing woman who has lived in the Town of Murray for 19 years. I have been married to my husband Mark for 20 years and together we are raising our 6 children in our country home along Ridge Road. I am actively involved in 4-H, home schooling our children, a school bus driver, a domestic engineer and operate a small business.

I was inspired by an advertisement in the Lake Country Pennysaver this spring by Allen Lofthouse of Kendall. He encouraged people to become involved in their community by running for their respective political committees. I have also been very inspired by our President, Donald J. Trump. President Trump said (talking about Americans) “We will never give up, we will never give in, we will never, ever back down, and we will never, ever surrender-because we are Americans and our hearts bleed Red, White, and Blue.” I remembered that it isn’t just my right to run for government office, it’s my civic duty.

The committee’s primary role is to nominate candidates for election or appointment. The current District 6 committee members do not live in our district. I would like to have District 6 residents represented by someone who lives here in our district and it would be my privilege to serve them. I would also like the voters to elect their representatives during the primary elections on September 13, rather than having someone appointed for them by the current committee.

I have no political, financial or professional ties to the Town’s Government. I would merely like to be a voice for my neighbors in our district by nominating candidates that reflect Republican Core Values and represent you fairly, honestly, and openly while serving on our Republican Committee.

Sincerely,

Kellie Gregoire

Murray

USA is right to crack down on illegal immigration

Posted 2 August 2018 at 11:52 am

Editor:

Mr. Wilson, in his recent letter, ponders the question of immigration with deliberative thought. I really disturbed Mr. Wilson with my lack of facts. Mr. Wilson I am not re-treading tired worn out stereotypical opinions that have been disproven for 150 years.

I am merely stating what is going on in the country and worldwide with Illegal immigration in the 21st Century. Your bundling all immigrants into this argument. I welcome legal immigration. Come in the front door. Prove your worth. Come on a VISA, we know who you are, then go home.

You also know then when President Ford created that council (DCCOIA) that the house was controlled by Democrats (not yet quite as rabid as today’s) followed by the 2nd worst president, a Democrat (my opinion) in my lifetime.

Appointments are made by who you know in the ruling party. Always look at the names. These were stacked appointments to achieve the result. You should know that.

True, President Reagan signed the Immigration reform and control act that gave amnesty to 3 million-plus illegals – more like 11 million. He regretted it afterward. It was a get tough act but failed because nothing was done by Tip O’Neill and the liar Democrats like Teddy Kennedy who promised to control the border. They did nothing. They also controlled the house till 1994.

That is what’s driving the movement for a wall in 2018. The citizens have been burned before. You seem to be leaving out facts, too. You also have it partially wrong about the illegal immigration reform and immigrant responsibility act of 1996. It was not the left’s bill (the left never tires of Illegal immigration) it was a Republican bill and was passed after Clinton signed the welfare reform bill. (Remember they won the house in 1994 – the 104th Congress.)

It was a tough bill but ended up having bad results as it finally beefed up border patrol and accelerated deportation but it gave many illegals pause to settle here in the States under the radar rather than get caught trying to invade again. Then they started having children and of course you liberals use the children as weapons to advance most of your dirty deeds. So they illegally invaded and stayed rather than risk getting caught going back and forth. It actually turned out to be a disaster, again why we’re here today.

There were 2.5 million illegals who invaded under Obama, slightly less than Bush who was hardly a Republican. The numbers kind of balanced themselves around 11 to 12 million as those sneaking in were pretty equal to those being deported by both. That’s too many illegally in our country, sir.

Taxpayers spend $18.5 billion on illegal invaders’ hospital bills every year, says an article in Forbes. It’s a well-known fact the strain on hospitals that illegals have through the country. That’s not counting the education and social services strain on the taxpayers. Kind of nullifies the invaders’ contributions.

National security, Mr. Wilson? The people here Illegally don’t give a hoot about this country. They protest waving flags from their own country, trampling and burning ours. Disrespecting the police and private property. These are the young people you’re talking about that are flocking here. Mr. Wilson when it comes to the USA there is no country that is near or our peers. Do you really believe that China and Russia are scared of us because of our immigrant population? They laugh at us. They don’t take in every kind of refugee. They are smart. We have the strongest most powerful, lethal military in the world bar none.

If they have any reason to fear us, it’s because of that, and our armed to the teeth population. We are Americans and we are exceptional. We should only admit legal immigrants that are skilled, self reliant and useful to the betterment of the USA.

By the way I am the son of an Italian immigrant, World War II veteran who came here legally with a sponsor, learned the language, promoted a work ethic to his children, flew the American flag, embraced the culture, loved this country and knew the difference between right and wrong.

Paul Lauricella

Lyndonville

Yates councilman says many negatives for community with wind turbine project

Posted 2 August 2018 at 9:14 am

Editor:

This letter was read into the public record at the July 12 Yates Town Board Meeting in the presence of Mr. Paul Williamson, Project Manager APEX Clean Energy, regarding the proposed Lighthouse Industrial Wind Project.

“A note of thanks to Mr. Williamson and cadre for clearly describing your 8 tenet strategy for destroying the towns of Yates and Somerset.

You have indicated that:

1. There is no impact on NFARS

2. Turbines are good for the environment

3. Turbines are good for infrastructure

4. Turbines are good for the economy

5. Turbines are safe for birds

6. There is no need for Yates to have laws governing wind turbines

7. There is no need for a baseline health study

8. There is no need for a PILOT

Let’s take these one at a time:

1. There is no impact on NFARS:  Clearly, you have no understanding of the economic history of Western New York. Unlike Virginia, where you live, Western New York is an area with many challenges. High taxes, little economic and industrial development combined with a complete lack of interest by Albany make this a hard-scrabble place to live and thrive. Yet, we do. That’s because we are, as a people, extremely protective of those unique aspects of life in Western New York. Unique aspects such as the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station (NFARS) base in Niagara Falls.  You say there will be no impact. Frankly Mr. Williamson, your very presence in this area is a threat to NFARS. This base employs 3,500 breadwinners with good paying jobs in an area where good paying jobs, actually any jobs, are difficult to come by. NFARS has been slated for closure twice by the Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRACC) and we have learned the hard way that any small reason to put a negative spin on a base may cause its closure. So, your impact on NFARS is a clear and present danger to all of Western New York. This is one of the reasons that Orleans, Niagara and Erie counties have opposed you.

2. Turbines are good for the environment: Really!?! How are turbines good for the environment? If allowed, you will blast massive holes into bedrock, potentially impacting aquifers. Pour tons of rebar concrete into each hole. You do this, even as residents are prohibited by law from pouring concrete in the water of Lake Ontario due to leaching. Your holes will also leach lime into Lake Ontario, negatively impacting pH of the water and as a result the lake ecosystem. You will also segment and destroy wildlife habitat. Good for the environment? I think not.

3. Turbines are good for the infrastructure: This Mr. Williamson is downright laughable. You are not coming here to improve the infrastructure. You are coming here to stick steel and concrete into the ground and then repair infrastructure. Turbines are not good for infrastructure.  Nothing can change that, regardless of how you twist the words.

4. Turbines are good for the economy: This is a flat out lie. People who can get out, will get out. Driving property values down. Business will not come where the people aren’t and your tiresome statements of 10-15 good paying permanent jobs rings untrue today as it has since you first stated it, oh so many years ago.

5. Turbines are safe for birds: I’m still laughing about this one. If one bird is killed by a turbine, then turbines are not safe for birds. Certainly, you can state statistics about cars and cats killing more birds than turbines. But the fact remains, birds will be killed, not only during migration season, but all year round. Whenever I was trying to get out of trouble as a youngster, my father used to say “figures lie and liars figure” as he was meting out punishment. Just admit that turbines are not safe for birds already! Stop lying.

6. There is no need for Yates to have laws governing wind turbines: This is basically what you are saying when you indicate that you will “request waivers” of Town laws. That’s a nice way to say, that you are going to ask the state to eviscerate your Town laws as “unreasonably burdensome.” And your reasoning is ludicrous! You state that we passed these laws to stop the project. Nothing could be further from the truth. We crafted the law using input from your industry. We studied and assessed the changes in technology as well as health, real estate, wildlife and environmental impacts via independent, peer-reviewed studies on the subject in order to determine how we wanted to write the law.

Frankly, if we wanted to stop the project in its tracks we could have just banned turbines altogether. So we clearly indicated, via our law, where you could place turbines. If you can’t place turbines in compliance to the Town of Yates wind law, you have chosen the wrong location for your project. But instead admitting your mistake like any normal business, you’ve decided that you know better than the vast majority of the people of Yates. So, you’re going to travel to Albany and ask the Governor to shove this project down our throats. How sweet!! You should educate yourself on recent precedents and decisions by the Siting Board reinforcing local laws as sacrosanct. The vast majority of our constituency is of the same mind regarding the sanctity of our town laws and that’s not going to change.

7. There is no need for a baseline health study: Your statements here are pure pablum. You clearly do not understand the difference between the terms “data” and “study.” We have plenty of medical data, but without an organized assessment of that medical data there are no conclusions to be drawn. Your statements clearly indicate that you do not understand simple and robust scientific methods. You should be willing to pay for the organized assessment of medical data in order to determine the baseline health of the community you are trying to destroy. I am amazed that, as a firm based in science, you do not understand scientific assessment methodologies. Another reason we don’t trust that you know what you’re doing.

8. There is no need for a PILOT: The long-held rule of thumb in the State of New York regarding these types of projects is; “No PILOT, no project.” Assessed values for this project may very well rest in the range of $220 million (Harrisburg, NY,  Watertown Daily Times, April 2015).  You have proven yourselves to date, a firm that likes to get off on the cheap (a few hundred dollars here and there to attempt to curry favor). There will be no “cheap” in this deal.  Forty-seven turbines will tip the scales at $200 million in assessed value. Apply local tax rates and the full taxation will be in the range of $9,400,000 annually. As compared to a PILOT payment of $1,500,000 annually, which nets the Town of Yates $40,000 per year!! A constituent stated last month that he hoped we would negotiate the best deal for the town. The best deal for the Town of Yates is “no negotiation.”

I understand that my comments this evening are fairly blunt and may have ruffled your feathers. Frankly, I don’t care. The Town of Yates has consistently fought alongside the Town of Somerset against this travesty. It’s time for you to begin to feel the rage that fully 65 percent of our constituency has felt since December of 2014.

You need to get out of Town.

By the way, why isn’t your CEO sitting here with you tonight?”

As a final note:

Mr. Williamson needs to do his homework and understand the war being waged against his company for the very soul of our town.

Governor Cuomo needs to understand this as well. Are you listening, Mr. Governor?

Thank You,

John Riggi

Councilman, Town of Yates

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Not all have been bamboozled by the president

Posted 1 August 2018 at 5:00 pm

Editor:

Where to begin?  This will be rambling.

Hate to burst any bubbles, but immigration is a principal source of America’s greatness and always has been—by its nature—for the most part, merit based. Kudos to Darren Wilson for his thoughtful, well written, fact-based—yet lengthy (oh my)—letter to the editor on the subject.

That said, ICE isn’t the problem. The person giving it its orders is. We obviously need border security. We do not need to separate infants and children from their parents when they risk it all to escape domestic abuse and violent gangs to pursue a decent life for their children.

After my previous letter on this subject, a person I had thought of as rational tried to “straighten me out” in a personal letter. He flatly accused me of being in favor of “open borders.” Coming to that conclusion after reading what I had written made me wonder whether he had significant comprehension issues. Heavens to Betsy, I know I am a democrat and all.

Great letter on tariffs and agriculture, Ron Mathes.

Guess what, Donald, Article One in the Constitution is about the legislative branch. S.U.N.Y. professors, Drs. Ireland and Rakov made it clear why that was the case. My professors would also leave no doubt as to why Amendment One provides for a free press.

By the way, if you think all republicans are bamboozled by The Donald, guess again.

When Jefferson (the one who wrote the Declaration of Independence) said he would prefer newspapers without a government to a government without newspapers, he may have been anticipating the rise of the biggest conman in history. You know, the one whose tax returns you haven’t seen, who says when you get to a certain position you may grope with impunity, while saying he has high regard for the rule of law (as long as it doesn’t apply to him) and nominated Brett Kavanaugh primarily because he evidently believes the President cannot be prosecuted outside of the impeachment process.

Collusion, Rudy, may not be a crime, but many other related things are crimes.

Despondently yours,

Gary Kent

Albion

Gaines supervisor should follow procedures, not blame others in running town government

Posted 1 August 2018 at 11:48 am

Editor:

I am surprised, puzzled and concerned by Supervisor Joe Grube’s response to my original letter. Mr. Grube responded more like a candidate seeking an office and not like what I expected from a supervisor. I apologize if he was offended by me reminding the public of the promises that he made to have honest, open government and respectful debate on issues of importance. Perhaps he was offended by me identifying actions that he personally orchestrated, and for which he should take full responsibility and accountability.

The Gaines supervisor needs to stop framing all problems or issues as “us versus them” and playing the classic “blame game” to justify his choices. He is the only one doing that at this point. That may have been effective when running for an office, but serves no purpose at this point.

I am also personally saddened that Supervisor Grube chose to attack the residents of his own Town that worked on the Comprehensive Plan and the Ad Hoc committee that was tasked with making revisions. They deserve an apology for having their efforts belittled and devalued and not acknowledging and recognizing all of their contributions on behalf of the Town.

Supervisor Grube’s attempt to misdirect and mislead by providing half truths and attacking individuals is a disservice to the office he is entrusted to uphold. Mr. Grube indicated he reached out several times to me, the fact is he left one voicemail message at my office number while I was on vacation – no further details provided.

A supervisor is not a one-man show, and he needs to work with his board and follow all proper procedures and use all Town resources at his disposal. When Mr. Grube criticizes the past administration, he must be including several current members of the current Town Council.

Lost in Supervisor Grube’s response was his failure to address several significant issues that should raise a red flag for all residents in the Town of Gaines.

Specifically:

• Why did the Supervisor and Town Council ignore its own Zoning Ordinance requiring the ZBA to prepare and amend the comprehensive land development plan for the Town?

• Why did the Supervisor and Town Council ignore its own prior resolution to have the ZBA and Town attorney provide options and possible methods to update the zoning ordinance?

• Who requested and authorized LaBella Associates to provide an RFP to the Town for professional services?

• Did the Town Council or ZBA receive a copy of the proposal to review, understand or comment on prior to the evening of the board meeting to formulate intelligent responses?

• Does anyone believe there was only one qualified consultant to choose from?

• Why was the Town’s very own procurement policy ignored?

• $27,700 is a significant amount of taxpayer assets.

The ends cannot justify the means. A supervisor cannot hide behind his council’s

vote if questions like these are not addressed.

I fully expect the Supervisor to press on and continue on the path he has started. I do not expect any direct response from Supervisor Grube to address these unanswered questions. I do not expect the ZBA to be included in any land use matters from this point forward. I do not expect to ever have any direct communication with the Supervisor. A truly sad day for the Town of Gaines.

Michael Grabowski

Gaines ZBA Chairman

Congressman Collins should help farmers with labor and tariff crisis

Posted 1 August 2018 at 9:16 am

Editor:

Congressman Collins doesn’t care about our farms or farm communities. Farmers in our area have expressed anxiety over migrant worker programs and trade wars.

At a meeting with farmers in April, Jeff True of True Farms in Perry told Congressman Collins that undocumented and non-citizens workers are going underground. It impacts not only farms but the whole community.

David Chamberlain of D&G Farms in Wyoming said, “It will be just as devastating as trade (issue) if we don’t get a solution.”

Mr. Collins visited Stein Farms in Le Roy in June. Shelley Stein, treasurer of Stein Farms, said, “It’s time that our government recognizes that fighting and being involved in trade wars using our basic agriculture products hurts us.”

The New York Times reported, “The dairy industry now faces substantial tariffs on it exports as Mexico, Canada and other countries retaliate against Mr. Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs.” Congressman Collins has expressed support for these tariffs which are hurting our farms and farm communities. Congressman Collins supports the administration’s immigration policies which are hurting our farms and farm communities. Congressman Collins does not care about our farms and farm communities. We need a new congressman. Thank you.

William Fine

Brockport